2021 was a year of adapting human resources practices for the age of technology and remote work. 2022 is set to be the year in which businesses and HR professionals expand the boundaries of traditional HR and find new ways to provide value through their human resources channels.

The way in which the world works has changed dramatically over the past few years, and this, in turn, has changed the way businesses and firms operate on a global scale. There have been few departments under as much pressure to keep up with these changes as HR.

Economies across the globe have been disrupted by remote work movements, lockdowns, social distancing protocols, the Great Reopening, the Great Resignation, and more. This has led to continuous disruption, which has driven many key adaptations in the way HR processes are carried out in the modern age. It’s essential to be aware of these 2022 HR trends to understand how best to leverage your HR resources to power change and add value, this year and beyond. Here’s what you need to know.

The 7 key HR trends for 2022

1. Product-focused HR

One of the most prominent HR trends present across industries this year is a shift away from project-focused HR and toward product-focused HR instead. This trend brings with it fundamental changes to the ways in which HR departments operate. HR teams operated with a project mindset for decades, which entailed set deliverables, clear timelines, predefined resource pools, and the prioritization of efficiency.

Product-focused HR is notably different. Products are ongoing, and generally do not have ends and final goals to provide value. Instead, extra resources are allocated to products and product lines as their reach and impact increase.

This paradigm shift will enhance the quality of HR service delivery. Plus, it will enable human resources teams to better develop capabilities that help to boost businesses’ profit margins. On the other hand, this shift will demand upgrades from HR professionals. These professionals will need to develop a keen understanding of their businesses’ internal customers, as well as their evolving demands, preferences, and consumer behaviors. Additionally, they will need to focus on providing a more personalized, engaging, and unique employee experience to minimize staff turnover and maximize productivity.

2. Use of talent marketplaces

The tightening labor market has changed the nature of hiring, forcing companies to make better use of the employees they already have.

One of 2022’s key HR trends will include the smarter allocation of talent through the use of talent marketplaces, which help to connect employees within an organization to internal work opportunities, job openings, temporary positions, and cross-department projects.

3. Team collaboration by design

Office environments have changed for good. High-quality work is no longer produced in offices alone, and statistically, 77 percent of people have experienced an increase in productivity since mid-2020. The only downside is that the remote work movement has limited employee networks and siloed businesses due to a lack of spontaneous conversations. This in turn has had a poor impact on innovation and team collaboration.

HR practices in 2022 will need to be tailored to become more involved in helping businesses reshape the nature of the collaboration and innovation taking place within their organizations. HR can create conditions that enable teams to work on different projects across organizations and between them. They can achieve this by:

  • Implementing organizational designs that support cross-functional teams of employees;
  • Designing both physical and online workplaces that help team members to connect and work together;
  • Establishing talent programs that offer space for rotation; and,
  • Using digital platforms to connect workers asynchronously so that they can collaborate at any time and anywhere they may be.

This collaboration-by-design approach can help HR professionals that build organizations that provide the perks of remote work while ensuring that collaboration continues to drive innovation and deliver value.

4. Optimized career experiences

Another important trend to be aware of is the creation of so-called career experiences. Life-long career development programs are no longer relevant to the modern workforce, as most workers are less likely to dedicate their entire careers to a single employer.

The goal of this trend is to encourage businesses to expand their operations while enriching their talents’ careers with new opportunities for learning and professional growth. Defined experiences like rotational, vertical, boomerang, and lateral experiences enrich employees and create extra capabilities for a hiring organization.

As remote work has become the norm this also opens up new and exciting avenues for career experiences. Useful tools like a global payroll guide can ensure that a business remains compliant with international laws and that employees can base themselves anywhere in the world and still play an important role. Businesses that support career moves will benefit from more skilled, engaged and dedicated employees.

5. Business transformation through HR

HR departments should be intrinsically included in topics related to the management of people. Human resources have a wide range of tools to add value to management projects, including those pertaining to organizational design, transformation, business development, culture building, and collaboration by design.

Transformation is becoming increasingly more commonplace in global markets, which means that there is an opportunity for HR teams to support these changes and measure their impacts. HR should connect leadership and organizational needs with employees’ abilities to ensure better collaboration, a clear purpose within an organization’s goals and objects, and more decisions driven by data.

6. Predicting and anticipating multiple futures

In 2022, the nature of work is ambiguous, flexible, and unpredictable to a degree. The world is simply too diverse and complex for only one potential future to be deemed viable. Employees now expect more flexibility with regard to work, which means that businesses are having to become more flexible and resilient to meet these needs. HR is no different.

By making use of data-driven workforce planning measures, companies can develop more adaptive strategies that evolve as their business environments do. It’s crucial that HR and its own strategies become agile and adaptive to meet this goal. Many previous ‘truths’ about operating businesses and managing teams have become outdated, so it’s time for businesses to reinvent themselves. Predicting and preparing for multiple futures will enable them to react rapidly to change and survive unanticipated developments.

7. Using HR technology for the greater good

There are thousands of businesses in the world that unwittingly misuse their technologies when it comes to managing their operations and employees. Any business that uses technology has an obligation to use it for the greater good – and this includes popular HR technologies as well. HR departments should be pioneering users of ethical tech that uses AI and algorithms to deliver its true goals rather than bypassing them.

HR professionals in 2022 will have to become more tech-savvy, as human resources digital tools are evolving at a rapid pace. They will need to develop the ability to understand algorithms, which will in turn allow them to ask vendors the right questions when choosing appropriate tech for their organizations. Data shows that only 41 percent of HR pros currently possess these skills. That number needs to be increased to ensure that HR teams have the skills to use their technological tools for good.

The takeaway

HR will play a crucial role in the development of better workplace collaboration, more efficient remote work, improved career experiences, business transformation, and delivering inclusive and purpose-driven businesses to provide equitable growth.

A proactive, future-proof human resources team will enable organizations to thrive in 2022 and beyond while passing that value on to their consumers.

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